War had broken out in 1939, but the December 13 issue of the Toronto Daily Star was still full of the usual Christmas gift ideas. They ranged from the frivolous to the extremely practical.
You could give heirloom jewelry:
If your loved one was feeling nostalgic about their alma mater, you could give school insignia jewelry.
Birks-Ellis-Ryrie also claimed to offer gifts to “thrill the feminine heart”:
I suppose this is better than attempting to thrill the feminine liver or pancreas. If jewelry wasn’t appealing, you could try bags or “gay pullovers”:
Or you could go all-out and buy a fur:
There were also gifts intended to appeal to men. For example, what could be more practical than shoes?
And what could be more masculine than cigars?
And, if not cigars, how about cigarettes?
This ad does not show that Santa’s beard had undoubtedly been turned yellow by tobacco smoke.
For something a little more intimate, how about a dressing gown?
Or you could go one step further and buy a pair of pyjamas that will last the rest of his life – what could possibly show a greater commitment than that?
But suppose you want to be strictly practical when you give your Christmas gift. How about an electric toaster?
Or the man of the house could be possibly a bit too practical and give his wife a new washing machine for Christmas:
I envision this as having been received somewhat frostily, even after hubby pointed out that it included a 12 year reconditioning guarantee. After all, Heintzman and Co. mostly specialized in pianos, not washing machines.